de Rugy on Healthcare

quotes innovation healthcare regulation permissionless

25 May 2014

Veronique de Rugy on healthcare:

The frontier of innovation is being quashed by the fortress of entrenched interests…The frontier’s innovation in healthcare is the solution, but the fortress will not give up its control without a fight.

The creators of new technology shouldn’t have to seek the blessings of skeptical, out-of-touch regulators before being allowed to develop and deploy innovations…Compare this permissionless innovation to the stifling “precautionary principle” norm favored by public officials. This principle allows regulators’ imaginations to run away with them: Any perceived threat of a low-probability, worst-case scenario is a good enough excuse for these officials to stifle technological developments. The Frontier is strangled so the Fortress can keep its power for another day.

Consider how the precautionary principle affected the innovative genomics testing company 23andme. Last November, the Food and Drug Administration ordered the company to stop marketing its product. Why? Because 23andme had not sufficiently kissed the regulatory emperors’ ring. Like a jealous frenemy, the FDA was miffed that the company had not sought and obtained permission from the agency since May of that year. Meanwhile, Americans in need of genetic information simply must suffer.

This is just one battle in the war for the soul of technology. By extension, the future of health care rests in which of these two visions prevails: the permissionless innovation of the frontier or the precautionary principle of the fortress?

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